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Volatile: Oil-laden wattle trees explode into flame as firefighters battle to prevent the flames reaching houses.
GARY WARNER Volatile: Oil-laden wattle trees explode into flame as firefighters battle to prevent the flames reaching houses.

While firefighters spent Australia Day battling a blaze that threatened homes, police diverted resources to cope with sightseers.

Sweeping along the eastern side of Wandina and Mt Tarcoola, the fire reached rear fences of many homes and started small ‘spot fires’ in several back yards.

Some fire brigade vehicles had to be driven on the incorrect side of the road because of traffic congestion caused by curious onlookers.

Sergeant Jayd Morawski said officers had to move “rubberneckers” for their own safety and prevent them disrupting the efforts of emergency services.

“I had to personally redirect some officers from assisting fire crews to move rubberneckers who were standing in harm’s way of the fire,” he said.

Full story in today's print edition.